New Zealand has got off to a slow start to the 29th World Amateur Team Championship in Japan. The Kiwis opened with an even-par team total on day one at the Iriyama Course of the Karuizawa Golf Club to be in a share of 41st place.
Australian Amateur Champion Tae Koh (Manukau) and New Zealand Amateur Champion Josh Munn (Manawatu) delivered the two counting scores when they both carded rounds of even par 72. Vaughan McCall (Gore) had the non-counting two-over par 74 on day one in the format where the best two scores out of three tally towards the team total.
The Kiwis will begin round two at the Oshitate Course 10 shots back from Canada, Sweden and Switzerland who blitzed day one with combined team totals of 10-under par. It could have been so much better for the New Zealand team who is looking to improve on the 2012 performance where it finished in a share of 24th place in Turkey.
Munn made the perfect start to his debut at the Worlds with an eagle on the opening hole. He went onto make two bogeys on the outward nine to make the turn in even par. The 23-year-old got to two-under par again after 12 holes only to bogey two of his final three holes.
Koh, the leader on the NZ Golf Order of Merit, mixed two birdies and two bogeys in his debut for New Zealand. McCall, who is returning for his second Worlds event, carded five birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey in his up and down, opening 74.
A total of 69 teams are entered in the 29th World Amateur Team Championship, which ties for the third-largest field in Eisenhower Trophy history.
New Zealand has won the Eisenhower Trophy once when the team of Phil Tataurangi, Michael Campbell, Stephen Scahill and Grant Moorhead were victorious in Canada in 1992.
The Kiwis, with Tataurangi claiming the title for leading individual, secured a seven shot victory over a US team that included future PGA Tour stars David Duval and Justin Leonard.
After a slow start the New Zealand team of 2014 will now be aiming for a top-20 finish in the pinnacle event of amateur golf.
Peter Thornton | New Zealand Golf
Media & PR Manager